We’ve entered the September rush in Alberta where I live. Even though COVID 19 hangs like a shadow over us, kids are back to school, colleges and universities start next week and everyone heads into that work/school mode. That means we have to put the “lazy days of summer” behind us.
Though this past summer was different, many still got away to cottages, cabins, campgrounds or just time on their deck at home. I love those times. It’s great to have time to just sit and not have to gulp down your breakfast to get going on the day. Those times of peace can bring real refreshment to our souls.
Yet can we only experience such peace during the lazy days of summer or when we’re off work or school? I read a verse today that I’ve read many times before. Yet it impressed upon me again that peace is possible anytime. It’s the Last Supper and Jesus is about to get arrested. Judas is gone and the 11 remaining disciples know something big is about to happen. So Jesus gives them instruction and comfort. He concludes by saying this.
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
That’s a realistic take on life. In this world we will have trouble. There’s no sugar coating here. There’s no extravagant promise that if you follow God, you’ll experience a problem free life. “in this world you will have trouble.” We might conclude that during those troubled times, we can’t experience peace.
But Jesus says, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.” In the world you will have trouble. In me you may have peace.” It’s not either or. It’s both and. You can experience trouble in your life and still have peace in Jesus.
How? Does it mean closing our eyes to the troubles all around and pretending they don’t exist while we go on a little mental escape exercise? No. It means that in the midst of trouble, we can turn the One who has “overcome the world.” Jesus took the worst the world had to offer. Jesus endured injustice, abuse and the torture of the cross. There He defeated the devil and the power of sin. He also paid for our sins there. Then He overcame our great enemy, death, by rising from the dead.
So when we trust this overcomer, we trust someone who has overcome the worst this world has to offer. Even when facing that ultimate enemy death, we can be at peace because we know He will walk us through that valley to eternal life. The Overcomer is on our side. Jesus watches and cares about your life and everything you’re going through. When you come to Him, you are never alone. So bring your troubles to Christ today so that in Him you may have peace.
“Thank you Lord for delivering these words of hope at a time of great trouble in your own life. Yet you proved the truth of them. Help those with trouble turn to you for Your Strength today.”